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5 Reasons Why Whale Watching Should Be On Your Summer Bucket List

Humpback whale throwing its tail flukes high in the air

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see what the biggest mammal on earth looks like in real life? What about how it would feel to be face to face with a species who travels one of the longest migratory patterns in the animal kingdom? Witnessing the plight of a whale’s arduous global journey coupled with their magnificent size and mesmerizing beauty, leaves passengers with an unforgettable experience that will be remembered for a lifetime. Whether you are enjoying a staycation, looking for a safe family-fun excursion to get your crew outside, or travelling to one of your bucket list places to visit this summer, whale watching in summer will undoubtedly add adventure to this year’s summer holiday.

Here are 5 more reasons why you should book a trip whale watching this summer:

  1. You could see the largest mammal on earth!

Whale watching in summer is remarkable because something magical occurs from within us the first time we hear the powerful sound of a whale’s magnificent blow, inviting us to connect with these beautiful creatures in their world. Summer whale watching is the perfect opportunity to see several migrating whale species called rorquals who feed on krill and small fish. These giants of the sea include Humpback Whales, Fin Whales, Minke Whales, Bryde’s Whales and the Blue Whale migrating through coastal California waters every summer. Imagine an animal living in the sea approximately the size of three school buses (parked end-to-end), weighing approximately the weight of 40 elephants, migrating south for the winter. One of Southern California’s most exciting whale watching in summer opportunities is the chance to see the world’s largest mammal to EVER exist, the magnificent 85-100 foot Blue Whale. Catching a glimpse of this rare site can only be seen in summertime as these gentle giants make their way down south to warmer waters in search of food and to birth their young. Shooting straight up 20 feet into the sky, a Blue Whale’s “blow” is a miraculous sight. Our bucket list places to visit this summer (and all year-round, too) would not be complete without landing Dana Point in the top position for the opportunity to get close to marine life, interact with the whales.

Whale watching in summer is easy to do in Southern California with more species of marine wildlife in the waters off Dana Point than anywhere else in the world. Nothing compares to the feeling of the splash of a Humpback Whale’s pectoral fins slapping the water below or getting a glimpse of each unique tail elegantly and gently gliding and lifting out of the water is sure to leave a lasting impression too. Be sure to bring your binoculars so that you can see the markings on the underside of the fluke. These markings are as individual to the Humpback Whale as our fingerprints are to us. 

Whale watching in summer wouldn’t be complete without catching a glimpse of friendly dolphins riding the bow of the high-speed adventure, need for speed boat. There are over 1 million common dolphins in the world with the California Coast being home to over 450,000 local residents. Whether you are visiting a popular bucket list places to visit like Monterey, Santa Barbara, Dana Point or San Diego, seeing the elaborate colors of common dolphins is a memory that is one to last. If you are lucky, you may even get a chance to spot a pod of Risso’s dolphins or even the acrobatic and playful bottlenose dolphin while whale watching in summer.

Head and front portion of a blue whale above the surface

  1. Enjoy the Outdoors & Learn Something New

Recently trademarked as the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World® and first ever Whale Heritage Site in North America by the World Cetacean Alliance, Dana Point is a stopover for a variety of whale species migrating between the temperate waters in the Bering Sea and the tropical waters in Baja, Mexico. Booking a whale watching trip during summer is a chance to see these incredible creatures as they journey through these waters, providing the opportunity for you to see them in their natural habitat. In addition to the whales and dolphins you can see in the summer, you will learn new interesting facts while whale watching in summer on board vessels like the award winning Captain Dave’s Dolphin Safari, from their extremely friendly and knowledgeable Captains, Crew and Marine Naturalists ready to answer any of your marine life questions.

If your travel plans fall outside of California or if seeing whales is on your summer itinerary no matter where it is along the coasts of the USA, you are in luck! Dana Point is the best location with a smorgasbord of large and small cetaceans to feed upon, providing plentiful amounts of food for these gentle giants. Other geographic regions that are dense with krill (tiny shrimp-like invertebrates) might have good whale watching in summer.

Add these marine locations to your bucket list places to visit this summer for more amazing whale sighting opportunities:

  • Dana Point, California 
  • Monterey, California 
  • Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska 
  • Depoe Bay, Oregon 
  • San Juan Islands and Puget Sound, Washington 
  • Cape Cod, Massachusetts 
  • Gloucester, Massachusetts 
  • Long Island, New York
  • Channel Islands, California 

Zodiac-style boat Fast Cat with dolphins swimming under the bow


  1. It’s great for your Mental Health

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” – Rainer Maria Rilke.

Our bodies thrive in the outdoors and just like whales your body also needs fresh oxygen to breathe along with a little sunlight to help generate Vitamin D. Whale watching in summer also helps our bones, blood cells, and immune system all benefit from the sun and allow your body to absorb more of certain minerals, like calcium and phosphorus. Now more than ever, focusing on mental health is critical. Those beautiful rays of sunshine also help keep your serotonin levels up, aiding in boosting your energy levels, helping to keep your mood calm, positive, and focused. This is why getting outdoors and focusing on you is close to the top of our bucket list places to visit this summer.

If you experience symptoms of ADD or ADHD or anxiety (you are not alone), spending time outdoors for a few hours on the water whale watching in summer can do wonders for your mental health. And if it is a better night’s sleep you are longing for, being outdoors with the gentle rock and roll of the ocean helps set your sleep cycle too, ensuring you will wake up more refreshed. Adding a whale or dolphin sighting into the mix is the perfect recipe for a calmer state of mind.

  1. Connect with your family and friends

With so much time spent indoors over the last year, whale watching in summer 2021 is the perfect kickstart to get you back outside and connecting with people again, while still remaining in a safe public environment. While it may have been awhile since you have been outside in public, taking a boat ride allows you to comfortably connect and be social with friends, family and others within the community while still providing the distance you need to feel comfortable being back in this type of environment. A memorable fourth of july, fireworks on the water cruise is a great way to connect with loved ones!

Cancel the disruptive interruptions, no more waiting in traffic lights, leave the long lines for another time and sit back and enjoy the wind in your hair and the reflection of the sun off the water while whale watching in summer. There is no better way to connect with your family than to spend time together sharing the joy of seeing whales free and wild in their own natural habitat who could all be sighted, possibly traveling alongside their families too. When planning your bucket list places to visit, be sure to share the joy by including your family and friends when planning your next trip!

Three women having fun outdoors

  1. Support Local Businesses

If you need another reason to go whale watching in summer this year, our final category is sure to make you want to book your trip today! Small businesses all over the world have been negatively affected by the constraints of the pandemic. Coastal cities who offer whale and dolphin excursions to see these magnificent creatures in the wild are bound to be located near local shops and delicious eateries that need your support right now too. Spending time in these quaint cities not only allows you the opportunity to experience a new place but also provides the atmosphere for trying new foods specific to the area you are visiting too. Try a locals only favorite spot if you are feeling extra adventurous. Being near the ocean also means you may be close to local marine research institutes and museums. Local research and rehabilitation museums may support saving whales and dolphins in their natural environment. Entrance fees and proceeds of items purchased at these establishments could also help to further future research. This means your whale watching in summer adventure extends on land too. If you have the time to visit one of these organizations, you can also further your education of what you hope to see or did see out on the water on your trip.

Regardless of where your bucket list places to visit are located this summer, the goal of whale watching in summer should be to have fun so don’t forget to bring your smile and camera with you wherever you decide to go on your trip. We invite you to visit us here in Dana Point and hope to see you whale watching in summer with us really soon! Book your adventure today, daily availability.

Until then,

Your friends at Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari

Gift an unforgettable dolphin and whale watching experience! With year-round whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and more, any time is a great time for your recipient to enjoy their gift.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods…” – Dr. Thomas Gilovich